The Ink Well Prompt #17: Action, Dialogue, Narrative | She Lost It

Hi, Hiveans!

I'm happy to write a new story for this lovely community, #TheInkWell, run by @jayna, @agmoore, and @gracielaacevedo. This time the prompt is "Action, Dialog and Narrative"; you can check on the details here.

The prompt for this week was Action, Dialog and Narrative.

Although my story is not funny, I found it helpful to remember how Dave Barry wrote his famous "Tips for Women: How to Have a Relationship with a Guy." It's an essay in which he uses the story of Roger and Elaine to illustrate his point. As the story unfolds, Roger understands less and less of what Elaine is saying. I'm not particularly fond of Barry's work, but I really love this one; it's hilarious.

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She Lost It

The blue Beetle stopped suddenly. Ethan closed his eyes and opened his ears.

“Shhh…!” He unnecessarily shushed Christine, who wasn’t breathing a word.

At that point, he didn’t seem worried about another car or a truck hitting them for good. He stepped on the clutch and braked, shifted into neutral, and clung to the steering wheel, mute and blind, trying to quiet his palpitations and his growing anger so he could listen.


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He felt the warmth of the sun on his arms and heard the breeze sang its habitual song of ease; all felt wrong, though. It was sunny and so lovely a day, it couldn’t be the one he lost his life companion.

He gave up again after another ten minutes and decided to continue driving as slowly and quietly as he had been doing it for the last two hours. The road was deserted because of the curfew, perhaps luckily for Butcher, although Ethan couldn't help but consider that the sounds of traffic might had helped Butcher get a clue to his own whereabouts. One more minute of driving and again he stopped.

“What do you mean you lost it, Christine?” He insisted. “Did you lose Butcher?”

His question was left unanswered, but the look she gave her told him something, perhaps worse than her just losing the cat was going on, or wasn’t it? Ethan had never been good to figure her out; could he do it now?

They had been up and down the road all morning, calling for Butcher, Ethan’s Siamese, but they hadn't heard the slightest meow. Now Ethan was having a hard time trying to solve the mystery, as Christine remained silent. Here’s what happened.

Ethan and Christine had an argument yesterday. It was Friday, pizza night, and she was complaining that he had not wanted to propose to her after six years of relationship. She spoke her truths, which she listed chaotically. She said she felt stuck, unloved, sick of pizza and hot dogs, tired of not attending family gatherings together and not having been properly introduced to her mother yet; she added that she had long been offended that he had only given her a drawer and a slot for her toothbrush, while the cat had a room and a couch to himself; but mostly, she was angry that he was fine with her being furious about it. She could not bear the fact that he would just go to sleep on it and wait until she could “keep it together.” She wouldn’t allow Ethan to say a word; when she was done speaking, she took her glass and the bottle of wine and went sit away. It was too late and dark; she’d leave in the morning.

Christine left the cabin on Saturday morning, at five, before Ethan was awake. She took Butcher, the cat, and went walking into the forest. Four hours later, she was back in the cabin, pale, her eyes red, and no Butcher. It didn’t matter how many times Ethan asked her what had happened, she just said, “I lost it,” as soon as she stepped inside the house; then she kept her mouth shot, and put on a poker face. Ethan had not even brushed his teeth yet. He put on a shirt, took her crazy girlfriend by the arm and pulled her out of the house. He stared calling for the cat, but soon he noticed the hems of her jeans were dirty with red clay; then he knew exactly how far she had gone and also what path she had taken, so he practically pushed her into the car and drove. They were going to find Butcher.

After six hours, Ethan was ready to give up. He broke and started crying and screaming. He seemed crazy. Then Christine spoke.

“What if I told you I accidentally killed your stupid cat?” She asked Ethan while giving him a mad and serious stare.

“What?” Said Ethan, his eyes lost in wonder.

“How do you like my being this serene while you completely lose it, honey? And how about my calling Butcher a stupid cat after I've made you believe I loved him?” She asked him softly as she took a key out of his pocket.

Ethan had finally understood how crazy she was. He wondered how they could have been together for so long without him noticing she was a lunatic.

"Butcher is in that shed over there, napping," she told her as she pointed toward some friends' property a mile away and pulled a key out of his pocket. "Take the key and go get him."

It took Ethan a second to react, maybe two. Christine got out of the car and said, "Now you know what it feels like," and she left. It’d take him a couple of years and a couple of relationships to understand that last part.

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Thanks for reading.


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